The Climats of Burgundy

DID YOU SAY CLIMATS ?

In Burgundy, a Climat is the name for a specific vineyard site combining vine plots, grape variety and know-how.
The word « Climat » should not be misinterpreted. It is not related to meteorology but is a specific term, unique to Burgundy, designating a specific vineyard site.

Each Climat is a vine plot, with its own microclimate and specific geological conditions, which has been carefully marked out and named over the centuries. Each of them has its own story, produces wines with a distinct character and taste and keeps its own place in the hierarchy of crus (Regional Appellation, Village, Premier Cru, Grand Cru). Over one thousand named Climats extend along the 60 kilometres of the thin strip of vineyards running from Dijon to Santenay, just south of Beaune, and among them are some of the most famous names from the world of wine ; Chambertin, Romanée-Conti, Clos de Vougeot, Montrachet, Corton, Musigny…

In Burgundy, when we speak of a Climat, we do not look up to the sky, we keep our eyes to the ground.

Bernard Pivot

Climat : a term dating from the 16th century  

The word « Climat » first appeared in written texts in the 16th century. At that time it was synomynous with a place-name or locality. A century later, use of the term became widespread in the region as a new reference to place, highlighting the differences and the hierarchy among the wines of Burgundy’s Côte. However, it is thought that the notion of « Climats of Burgundy », was generally used to describe land suitable for winegrowing and dates back to the Early Middle Ages.

Climat, from the Greek term « klima-atos »

“Klima-atos” in Greek describes the angle between a place’s location on the earth’s surface and the sun. The word became “clima-atis” in Latin, with the same meaning. Over the centuries, the term has become more precise: during the Renaissance period, it came to mean a land, a region, then a collection of vineyard parcels and finally a specific, delimited plot of vines. It should be noted that during the Classical period the Greek term “klèma-atos” was used to describe a piece of supple wood, and more especially vine shoots and stocks. In contemporary Greek “ta klimata” specifically designates vines.